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Ephesians Study: Least of the Saints

[Ephesians 3:1-13]

Paul wrote over half of the books in the New Testament. Paul knew the Scriptures well. Paul had an encounter with Jesus and a special calling to preach to the Gentiles. He had many reasons to be puffed up. Instead we read:

1 Corinthians 15:9 “least of the apostles,” Ephesians 3:8 “very least of all the saints,” 1 Timothy 1:15 “foremost of sinners”

  • We are dead – we need to be made alive

Romans 3:23-24We are all sinners – we all fall short of the glory of God

Ephesians 2:1 – “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins”

Ephesians 2:5 – “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.”

Colossians 2:13 – “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins”

  • God humbles Himself – He makes us alive

Psalm 113:5-6 – “Who is like the LORD our God, Who is enthroned on high, Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in heaven and in the earth?”

Psalm 18:35 – “You have given me the shield of your salvation. Your right hand supports me. Your gentleness makes me great.”

Philippians 2:7-8 – “Rather, He (Jesus Christ) made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross!”

  • Exalt self = humbled, humble self = exalted

Luke 18:9-14 (Parable of the Two Men Who Prayed / Pharisee and the Tax Collector) – We get full of ourselves – We become like the self-exalting man Pharisee from parable – he prayed that he wasn’t like that sinner

1 Peter 5:6 – “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.”

Numbers 12:3 – “Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.” Aaron and Miriam trash talked Moses, God exalted Moses – with him I speak face to face

Proverbs 29:23 – “Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.

Bible Study Questions:

  1. In the Bible, humility is seen as submissiveness toward God. What are some things we need to recognize to be humble?
  1. If we are humble, we recognize God’s power and wisdom. This leads to accepting His will and leads to obedience. How do we see this in life?
  1. With humility comes suffering, hardships, and even persecution. Why do you think these things related?
  1. We are to be humble / meek; however, this does not mean we submit to everything. When are we not supposed to submit?
  1. How can we stay humble?

6.  How does humility keep us from sin?

 

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:

1- Sons and Daughters

2- Immeasurable Greatness

3- God’s Workmanship

4- Our Cornerstone

5- Least of the Saints

6- Love of Christ

7- Abundantly More

8- Unity of the Body

9- Anger Management

10- Exposed by the Light

11- Submission

12- Prepared for Battle

 

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Colossians Study: Worship Works

[Colossians 3:22-25]

“What you think about you care about

What you care about you chase”

“Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.” (v. 22-25 MSG)

  • Do your best
  • Work from the heart
  • Remember Who you serve

“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” – Romans 12:11 [NLT]

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

– 1 Corinthians 10:31 [NASB]

Anything you do can be an ACT OF WORSHIP

“The Lord is pleased with those who worship Him and trust His love

– Psalm 147:11 [CEV]

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” – Romans 12:1-2 [MSG]

Bible Study Questions:

1) The passage speaks about working from the heart. This phrase “from the heart” translates in the Greek as “the soul” or “life” or “self” – “the breath of life.” What does that mean for us?

2) What is the difference between working for men and working for God?

3) Romans 12:11 says we should not be lazy. Instead we should work enthusiastically. What should we do if we find ourselves not working with enthusiasm?

4) The Bible says we should serve with joy (Psalm 100:2). What can we do if we find ourselves serving but not with joy? If we are not serving with joy, with what are we serving?

5) What does it mean when Paul says “do your best”? What is your best? How do you know it is your best?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

Colossians Study: Foolish Philosophies

[Colossians 2:1-15]

Fooled by fancy talk / persuasive speech / well-crafted arguments / enticing words / smooth rhetoric / nice-sounding words / wild-goose chase (v. 4) – speech adapted to persuade, speech to lead others into error

“Don’t let anyone fool you by using senseless arguments. These arguments may SOUND WISE, but they are ONLY HUMAN TEACHINGS. They come from the POWERS OF THIS WORLD and NOT FROM CHRIST.” [CEV]

captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy [NIV]

Captive – ignorant of TRUTH – of Word of God – sulagógeó “to carry off as spoil” like a predator carrying off prey

Remember:

  • You belong to Christ (v. 9)
  • Christ is over every power and authority (v. 9)
  • You have been raised to life through faith (v. 12)
  • Your sins have been forgiven (v. 13)
  • The charges have been wiped out (v. 14)
  • With Christ alone, we have victory (v. 15)

“What is the best safe-guard against false teaching? Beyond all doubt the regular study of the word of God, with prayer for the teaching of the Holy Spirit. The Bible was given to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). The man who reads it aright will never be allowed greatly to err. It is neglect of the Bible which makes so many a prey to the first false teacher whom they hear. They would have us believe that “they are not learned, and do not pretend to have decided opinions.” The plain truth is that they are lazy and idle about reading the Bible, and do not like the trouble of thinking for themselves. Nothing supplies false prophets with followers so much as spiritual sloth under a cloak of humility.”J.C. Ryle

Bible Study Questions:

1) Paul uses the term “wonderfully blessed” or “full riches” or “wealth” in verse 2:2. What is Paul saying gives us this wealth or full riches—why or how are we wonderfully blessed?

2) Paul used the term “mystery” and said that Christ was the key to God’s mystery (v. 2). This term “mystery” was used a lot by the false teachers at that time. Some people believed there was a high level of hidden knowledge one could achieve by particular actions. What does Colossians 2:2-3 say about Christ and this mystery?

3) Paul makes it clear that we are to never stand still. Read Colossians 2:6-8. What does this mean for us?

4) Other religions attempt to figure out what problems people have and then how to solve those problems. Christianity is different. The Gospel wisdom is backwards from the worldly wisdom. How?

5) Read Colossians 2:15. The verse uses the word “disarm” or “defeated.” What does this mean when it says Christ defeated or disarmed all powers and forces?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

More Than a Story: Faithfulness

[The Loaned Money: Matthew 25:14-30]

  • Also known as the Parable of the Talents
  • A talent is a monetary unit worth about 20 years’ worth of wages.
  • Talent is useless if it is not used.
  • No one is without talent.
  • Talents given according to ability – 5, 2, 1

Responsibility – Faithful over little, set you over much – Action is required

Time – Talent – Treasure

 

  • We are to be RESPONSIBLE and CREATIVE
  • We are all different but His expectations are always appropriate.
  • Talents (Resources from God) + Action for God + Time (Gift from God)

                                                                                   = Profit for Kingdom

The third servant – the evil, lazy servant…

  • Hid the talent because he was concerned with safety more than service
  • To avoid not doing anything wrong, he ended up not doing anything right.

To be faithful, one must be:

  • Focused on Jesus – All about Jesus, growing His Kingdom (Colossians 3:17)
  • Founded in Jesus – Abide in Him (John 15)
  • Fearless for Jesus – Hope in Jesus = Boldness/Courage (2 Corinthians 3:12)

Bible Study Questions:

1) What was the Master’s commendations for the two successful servants?

2) What did the Master do for the successful servants?

3) The unfaithful servant was described as three words. How was he described?

4) What happened to the unfaithful servant when the Master returned?

5) How do we bury the talents God has given us?

6) How can we discover our talents? How can we use them for God’s glory?

7) How can we encourage others with their talents?

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

Forgiveness Outline

I recently shared a devotional on Forgiveness. Here’s the outline for reference / resource. To download this, follow the link below.

Forgiveness

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – Colossians 3:13 [NLT]

Parable of the Unmerciful Servant – Matthew 18:21-35

PRAY FOR THEM:

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – Matthew 5:44 [NIV]

THINK LOVING THOUGHTS:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus; Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! – Philippians 2:3-8 [NIV]

ACT IN LOVE:

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” – Luke 6:27-28 [NLT]

EXPECT THE BEST:

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” – 1 Corinthians 13:7 [NLT]

Download Forgiveness Outline